Hamilton and Vettel disagree over on-track close encounter

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel’s budding “bromance” developed a few cracks in Barcelona after the two clashed during the Spanish Grand Prix.

The pair have been forming a mutual admiration society over the first few races of 2017. That’s in marked contrast to the increasingly antagonistic relationship Hamilton had with his own former team mate Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.

But the two made contact while fighting for the lead of Sunday’s race, with Hamilton accusing Vettel of forcing him off the track at turn 1.

“In the heat of the moment it’s difficult to know from the outside view what it’s like,” explained Hamilton. I felt like I ran out of road, but I was alongside.

“At the end we came out so close together, very very close into turn 1,” he said in the post-race press conference. “I gave you space and our wheels touched.”

“It was very close when we came out,” agreed Vettel. “I was just guessing on the braking but there was no room for him. I don’t know if we touched. It was really close,” he said, adding: “I gave you space, too!”

“Not really!” Hamilton parried. “Definitely didn’t give me much space. But it was close.”

“We’re still here, so…” Vettel shot back, to which Hamilton responded “Yeah, just.”

  • Hamilton wins gripping duel with Vettel in Spain

Asked whether he was enjoying the intense title battle with Hamilton this year, Vettel appeared keen to put a little distance between himself and his main rival.

“I don’t know. I’m here to race. That’s what I enjoy,” he said. “We’re not best friends. We’re very different as well. But I think we have a very strong connection [as] we both love racing. I think we all do sitting on the grid, that’s what should connect us.

“Off track I don’t see why you can’t have a generally good time,” he added. “[But] on track for sure, I didn’t want him to win today. I wanted to be on top but it didn’t work. Rest assured I’m not happy with that.

“At the same point, you have to respect if other people do a good job, and he drive a good race. He obviously managed to come back at the end and pass us on the track, so nothing to moan about.”

Hamilton also paid compliments in turn to the Ferrari driver.

“He drove fantastically well, it’s an real privilege to race against such an awesome driver,” the Briton said. “Sebastian was incredibly close, incredibly fast.

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